Hunt Slonem – Whirl Wind
Dimensions: 60 x 70″ finished size
Medium: oil on canvas
“Rabbits are welcome. I’ve never been plagued with an unwanted number of them.” –Hunt Slonem
Even though Hunt was born in the Chinese year of the rabbit, his work had a slow introduction to these animals. In the 1970s, rabbits began appearing at the feet of saints in devotional paintings. Over the decades, they, as rabbits do, multiplied to cover entire walls and eventually came to make up much of this distinguished painter’s life. These lagomorphs quickly grew to transcendent heights within Slonem’s world, with mystics and psychics telling him that these rabbits would take him places his other work never could.
Lepus Cuniculus is a manifestation of these predictions, and features entirely new media for Slonem. World-renowned for his oil paintings which are in the permanent collections of The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Academy of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art, this exhibition highlights bold new forays into glass, neon, large-scale sculpture, and back-lit glowboxes, along with his beloved works in oil.
The invention of the glowboxes came from the artist’s desire to illuminate his work. Acrylic paint on plexiglass is housed in a steel frame, and lit by a custom-designed LED with a controllable dimmer switch that offers the viewer a unique experience in which traditional painting meets technology. Slonem’s large-scale sculptures are chromium stainless steel, brightly powder coated and manifesting the iconic Slonem rabbit silhouette in three dimensions. His work in neon is perhaps the most playful image expression to date, as the unmistakable lines of the rabbits truly glow. In homage to his childhood fascination with Alice in Wonderland, Slonem takes us through the looking glass with his dichroic glass paintings. Using a coating developed by NASA, these oil paintings utilize Slonem’s dimensional linework to create luminescent paintings that must to be seen in person to be believed.
“This new body of work was borne out of these unexpected times. Given an unexpected opportunity to create work in an entirely new methodology, what has resulted is an artistic liberation of sorts. My established lexicon of forms have taken on new life in blown glass, bronze, and other media, all in visual culmination that is thrilling to me artistically. This moment in time has proven to be an impetus for an ever-expanding vocabulary of new work.” –Hunt Slonem